The Senate passed SB 514, the “Unmask Georgia Students Act,” sponsored by Sen. Clint Dixon (R-Buford) on behalf of Gov. Brian Kemp. The legislation allows parents to opt-out of local school mask requirements.
The bill was amended on the Senate floor to extend its sunset to 2027 instead of June 20, 2023, the date included in previous iterations of SB 514.
During floor debate on the bill and its amendment, both of which passed largely down party lines, Dixon stated that SB 514 does not prevent mask wearing nor does it prevent schools from mandating masks—SB 514 allows parents to opt-out of any applicable mandate.
House Passes Bills Related to Agricultural Education and 4-H
The House passed HB 1303 by Rep. Robert Dickey (R-Musella), which would make permanent an agricultural education pilot program for elementary students. The bill does not require schools to implement the program.
HB 1292 by Rep. Rick Jasperse (R-Jasper) also passed the House today. It would prohibit districts from counting students as absent when participating in school-sponsored 4-H programs.
Both bills now move to the Senate for consideration.
Committee Passes Bill Increasing Penalty for Passing School Bus and Not Paying Fine
The House Motor Vehicles Committee passed HB 1387 by Rep. J Collins (R-Villa Rica). The bill strengthens punishment for failing to promptly pay fines (within 30 days) for passing a school bus in a school zone. The current citation penalty is non-renewal of the driver’s vehicle’s registration. HB 1387 would increase the penalty to suspension of vehicle registration. After vehicle owners present proof of paid fines, they will pay a $60 fine to the Department of Revenue to reinstate their vehicle registration.
The legislation now moves to House Rules.
Wednesday, March 2: Committee Work Day
Senate Education & Youth Committee, 2 p.m., 307 CLOB
Senate Retirement Committee, 2 p.m., 310 CLOB
Thursday, March 3: Legislative Day 23
House Education Committee, 1 p.m., 606 CLOB
Friday, March 4: Legislative Day 24